As a photographer, you are constantly looking out for more exposure for your work. The starting point for showcasing your images as a photographer is definitely your own photography portfolio website, but you should not stop there. Participating in online photography communities, photography forums, and social media networks is an essential part of a photographer’s marketing toolkit.
Why should you join an online photography forum or community?
Market your photography business
A Photo community is a great place to generate exposure for your work and traffic for your photography website. You would often find collaborators and even clients on many of these photography forums and communities.
Share your photography work and get feedback:
Sharing your work on an online community for photographers can help you get feedback and constructive criticism that can be of great help in evaluating your work and improving areas where you are lagging.
Stay updated with the latest photography trends, news, and gadgets:
On active communities such as Fstoppers and Reddit, etc., there is a lot of discussion on new cameras, lenses, etc. You would also find animated discussions on the trends in photography and what the future holds.
Get a sense of community and camaraderie:
As you become actively involved in these photography forums and communities, you get a sense of comradeship with fellow photographers. Many of the online communities spill over in the offline space too, with meetups organized frequently. It's a great way of making friends and interacting with fellow photographers.
There are lots of photography forums and communities out there. Each one of them has its own distinct focus and tonality. Which community would fit your purpose or personality better can only be answered by diving in and participating.
Here is the list of top 20 online photography communities and forums for photographers:
For Photo Sharing and Feedback
While this guide is not about social platforms, we can't help but include Instagram here. IG has emerged as the playground for many successful photographers. Photography is one of the most popular themes on Instagram, with millions of photographers sharing their images using Instagram hashtags for photographers. There are also several big hub pages with millions of followers which re-post and publish photographs and can bring you tonnes of exposure. Amongst the mélange of communities on Instagram, @Bkstreetart is a favorite haunt of street photographers. With 65,083 followers, it’s been highly successful in stirring up conversations on street art. Another, @bns_sky or Best Nature Shot allows feature, follow and tag options for uploaders.
Check out this guide on how to use Instagram for photographers.
VSCO is another big photography community which allows its users to add, edit, and share photos. VSCO has filters for effects as well as other editing tools. Their 'Discover' section has community stories and creative tutorials for photographers. Like Instagram, you can follow other creators and share your work as well.
On first glance, Flickr might appear a bit too large for its own good, with a tonne of sub-par action and general discussions going on. However, if you dig deeper, would find a lot of high-quality photography groups and communities still active on Flickr. Themes such as street photography, black and white portraits, surreal photography, film photography, people photography, landscapes, etc. are quite popular on Flickr.
The Street Photography Now Community (SPNC) allows images to be added by invitation-only. Into its fourth year, the groups work in a very off-beat way! They also have an informational newsletter to which you can subscribe. The invitation-only model ensures the community does not stray into unknown territory and knows who it' adding as a member.
500pixels is another community extremely popular for photo sharing. Photographers all across the globe are keeping track of the pulse of each others photographs. If you're seeking to build great global exposure, this is the site to be. 500px community rewards high-quality work, and if you are careful about curating the images that you showcase on 500px, you can easily get featured on its homepage and get massive exposure.
Behance by Adobe is a free online community for artists. A lot of photographers are using this platform to showcase their work and get feedback from the community. Their clean and appealing design is their biggest selling point. Photographers who want to collaborate with other artists can do so on their platform. And being part of the Adobe Family, Behance is integrated with other Adobe products.
Reddit is called the home page of the internet for valid reasons. Reddit draws millions of active users every day and its photography sub-reedits are some of the most active photography forums that you would find online.
Starting with the /r/photography subreddit which has over 300,000 followers, you can gradually start participating in other niche subreddits based on your interests.
Just make sure that you are not aggressive about just marketing yourself and promoting your work. Reddit users prefer and appreciate genuine participation and giving, so do comment and contribute to active discussions and build up your Reddit Karma.
EyeEm as a photography community is quite popular in Asia and Europe and is gaining followers in the US as well. In many ways, EyeEm is like a mix of Instagram and 500Px. EyeEm has one of the nicest designs and enables photographers to share images with tagging and geotagging. EyeEm has a lot of Instagram like filters as well (EyeEm introduced filters before Instagram!). Photographers can now even sell their images on the EyeEm marketplace.
OneEyeland is a super, selective photography community with top-notch content. What makes OneEyeland stand out is that expert photographers manually vet all contributions before becoming public posts. OneEyeland's features photo galleries by some of the world's finest photographers and its stringent quality standards shine through the body of work it does approve.
For Photography Tutorials
DPReview has become one of the best online forums for everything related to digital photography. Digital Photography Review has tonnes of articles, reviews, how-tos on all aspects of digital photography. If there is one website that you want to refer before you make any purchase of digital cameras or any other photography equipment, you are sure to find detailed product reviews, being guides and user discussion forums on this website.
Tuts+ provide valuable tutorials and courses for various niche areas – photography and videography being one of them. Other than their well-fabricated blog, the keynotes of the site are e-books and jobs section.
DPS is possibly the top photography learning website for the new age of digital photography. There are a lot of photography tips and tricks, how-to articles, tutorials, and guides on all aspects of digital photography and post-processing. DPS features extremely active photography forums as well.
12. DIY Photography
DIY Photography started in 2016 to focus on providing expert advice and how-to articles written primarily on the topic of creating and fixing your photography gear. The DIY focus of the website has made it a big hit amongst photographers.
Strobist is a fantastic photography resource focussed only on the art and technique of lighting. Specifically, Strobist focuses on using lights and off-camera flash to take your photography to the next level.
The free Lighting 101 course is perfect for beginners as it starts from the very basics of lighting and explains everything that you need to know for using lighting in your photo shoots.
Photo.net is a large community of enthusiast, beginner and pro photographers with a vast repository of content available for photographers. With a lot of articles, online courses for photography and active forums, Photo.net has something for anyone interested in photography.
15. Photography Talk
Photography talk is a great digital photography community to find how to articles, e-books, and other guides. The site also has a place for forums for discussions. The forum is well designed and divided into categories like gear reviews, photography tips, galleries, editing, etc.
For Photography News
This week in Photo is the place to go for all the latest news, insights and scoops on photography events, gear and cameras.
17. Pop Photo
PopPhoto is buzzing with news on photography workshops, contest, and events. It also has detailed reviews of the latest photography gadgets, cameras and lenses tested by photographers. Based on its reviews, this forum site also features a buying guide for photographers where it features recommendations on photography gear that it has tested.
PopPhoto's photography forum is also pretty active and has a vibrant community posting every day.
If you're struggling to keep yourself updated with the latest contests in competitions, then fret not. Photo contest insider does the legwork and gives you a comprehensive list of all the photo contests you can participate in.
Check out this comprehensive list of photo contests happening in 2018.
GuruShots is all about photo contests for everyone - from beginners up to pros. GuruShots brings in the community aspects of peer-to-peer reviews in photo contests, wherein the winners are chosen based by the number of votes their images get from their peers (users on Gurushots). Gurushots is great to get feedback on your images - images that get a lot of votes tend to get featured on the home page, and contest winners also get a lot of exposure.
Photography Discussion Boards
LightStalking offers a ton of guides, articles, and freebies for photographers. But where it truly shines and sets itself apart from other such sites is its forums. The LightStalking's popular online forums are very active discussion boards featuring everything from general photography chit-chat (70,000+ posts) to Photography Challenges (25,000 posts)
This photography community provides the "top resources for photography lighting, gear reviews, business tips, behind the scenes, and industry news." The community features a 'picture of the day' of its clients and enables fellow photographers to comment and give feedback actively. If you thrive on a stimulating discussion about the latest camera equipment, this is the place to catch all the latest buzz!
With over 150,000 registered users and 30,00,000 posts, The Photo Forum is one of the most active resources on Photography and Digital Photography. Structured into various categories, The Photo Forum has active discussion boards for everything - contests, general photography news, beginners, photo critique, camera reviews, and much more.
With close to 400k members, Photography on the Net is one of the best online forums out there. This forum is said to be the go-to place for canon gears. Apart from discussing all photography things, you can showcase your work as well. Although you can browse most of the content on this photo forum as a guest, for posting and viewing some threads, you need to register first.
This photography forum discusses the need to improve the skills of photographers. You have separate threads on landscapes, portraits, wedding, etc. The forums here are also divided into topics based on the skill levels of the photographer.
For Business of Photography
25. Photo Attorney
While running a photography business, the redundant legalities that come with it can be daunting. All the worries akin to copyrighting photographs can be put to sleep because of cogent solutions provided by Photo Attorney.
With so many photography communities and forums to participate in, you need to quickly find the best 4-5 online photography communities and forums that you want to be actively engaged with and slowly move up the chain and become a valuable, contributing member of those communities.
So get going on the photography forums and communities and be a part of ones that make your journey as a professional photographer ever more rewarding and beautiful. Although you can showcase your work in some of the above sites, a professional website for your portfolio has its place. Create your portfolio at Pixpa by signing up for a 15-day free trial.
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